I was chatting to someone this week about being self-aware and able to hear Jesus speaking and leading more clearly, and I recommended they take up the practice called "morning pages". It's something which has helped me a lot.
First thing in the morning, I grab my "morning pages" book and write down everything swirling around in my head. I can have many thoughts from the moment I open my eyes.
I'm not sure how men have the ability to think nothing, but I've been informed they can. I, on the other hand, am never thinking about nothing. Therefore articulating my early morning thoughts and dialogue is highly beneficial.
For 20 minutes, I jot down every conscious thought that enters my head. From the deeply philosophical "what am I doing with my life" thoughts, the questions and dialogue I have with God, or what are the kids doing today? Everything from, "Did I make that dentist appointment to, it's freezing, but I really should get moving and go for a run."
These "morning pages" aim to clear my head of all the chatter in my thought life, leaving space for creative and fresh thought and revelation. When we write things down, we have to articulate everything, and when we do this consistently, several things occur:
1. We get clarity about our thoughts rather than a collection of chaotic and often rushed anxious thoughts.
2. It slows us down, forcing us to "think about what we think. We get to do a daily checkup.
3. In being more aware of our thoughts, we leave space for creativity to surface. We de-clutter and gain focus. We retrieve the parts of ourselves we have lost.
4. If we consistently engage in morning pages or honest reflection and examination of our thoughts in some way, our desires and dreams start to come to the surface and are revealed and articulated on the page right in front of us.
When we write down those often seemingly random thoughts that flit across our minds, a common theme or pattern can arise. Our hearts are revealed. "I wonder if I should take an art class, I wish I could do such in such; I'd love to visit that place; I wish I weren't so stressed."
“The success of Morning Pages hinges on our doing them as close to awakening as we can.” “What do I need to know?” “What do I need to try?” “What do I need to accept?” “What do I need to do?” “If you work on your creativity, you will grow spiritually. If you work on your spirituality, you will grow creatively." (Julia Cameron)
In our fast-paced and often stressful lives, we can get very accomplished at squishing our passions under a mountain of work, practicalities, family commitments, and even fear of doing something different.
But what I write in a somewhat rambling style of whatever comes into my head in that 20 minutes, uncovers the secrets of my heart and mind.
Hidden feelings and desires become known. Concerns, appointments I keep putting off, checkups, friends I've lost contact with, spiritual hunger, trips I would like to take, new ideas, reminders or promptings on relationships, God speaking to me. It all appears on those three little pages over consecutive days and weeks.
Morning pages leave no corner of our life unexamined. Our dreams, our hopes, our disappointments, our pain – we, a day at a time, page by page, issue by issue, become more aware and connected in ourselves, which in turn allows us to become more connected with others.
When we are comfortable in our own skin, we will be more comfortable with another's scrutiny. Relationships improve, and we are healthier.
Some people explain the process of articulating their thoughts each morning like "a vacuuming process, it pokes the pages into every corner of our current life, and when we're done with them, our consciousness is clean and fresh and ready for new ideas".
I've realised that we usually know exactly what to do; we know deep down what we want in life, we can hear from God if we listen, and He is trying through all the noise to prompt, lead, and direct us into health, fitness, peace, whole relationships and blessing.
In your morning pages, God will consistently speak loud and clear, which becomes obvious the more you look at what you're writing, follow promptings, especially when repeated, and choose to be honest about your inner world.
Do this first thing in the morning; take a notebook and write everything that enters your thoughts for three pages. Every thought, write it down. You'll discover it calms and quiets your mind and body, enabling you to listen and hear God speaking.
Over time you'll notice the promptings, reminders, your heart being healed and the uncovering of long-hidden dreams and things you've forgotten.
God reveals the secrets of our hearts, but He often uses very simple means, such as the daily ramblings of words on a page, to bring us a fresh revelation of who we are and who He is.
"I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind." (Jeremiah 17:10)
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;" (Psalm 139:23)
Be blessed as you discover yourself and God afresh.
Prayer: Lord, please help me make the time to write down everything regularly that is going on in my heart and mind. Would you speak on my morning pages and reveal your will and what I have stored away in my heart and thoughts. In Jesus' name Amen,